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Rival Smartphone Launches Get Underway

NEW YORK – New high-end smartphones with the Android operating system have arrived to carry the flag for their respective brands in this year’s market-share battle.

Retail sales are underway for the Android 4.4-based Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC’s One (M8), which HTC hopes will reverse its market-share decline.

Here’s what the latest phones offer:

HTC: Most carriers were to have the HTC One M8 in stores by April 11, said HTC Americas president Jason Mackenzie. The device became available in Verizon stores on March 25 and was scheduled to be available in Sprint and AT&T stores in early April.

It also became available March 25 through the online stores of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and multiple retailers such as and Amazon.

Verizon, Sprint and AT&T announced a price of $199 with two-year contract. They also offer it at an unsubsidized price as part of their trade-up programs.

For its part, T-Mobile will offer the M8 at a no-contract unsubsidized price of $26.50/month for 24 months.

The new model sports a slightly larger 1080p screen at 5 inches with 440 ppi, up from 4.7 inches with 468 ppi, and a faster quad-core processor at 2.3GHz, up from 1.7GHz. The U.S. model offers 32GB embedded memory and, unlike its predecessor, features memory card slot, which supports 128GB MicroSD cards.

The new model offers the same 2GB RAM as its predecessor.

More than 90 percent of the housing is aluminum, compared with the predecessor’s 70 percent. Another cosmetic change is a brushed hairline-texture finish.

Camera enhancements include the use of two back cameras to capture depth information and enable special effects, such as blurring a person in the background after a picture is taken.

Other upgrades include a Motion Launch feature that lets users double-tap the screen to wake up the phone, automatically answers a call when the phone is held to the ear, and the like.

Samsung: The company’s flagship Galaxy S5 has been priced by select carriers.

Sprint plans April 11 availability through direct and indirect channels at $199 after $50 mail-in rebate with twoyear service agreement. AT&T and U.S. Cellular priced it at $199 with two-year contract, began talking preorders on March 21, and planned early April availability.

AT&T and Sprint will also sell the device unsubsidized under their trade-up programs.

T-Mobile priced the device at $660 with no contract and started pre-orders March 24 through its website. An availability date hadn’t been announced at press time.